I’ll admit that most of my birthdays as an adult (with the exception of last year’s big milestone birthday) have been pretty low-key. But even while we didn’t often do much to celebrate the actual day of, it still always FELT like my birthday, or at least like I had gotten another year older.
Not this year.
This year, mine and Matt’s birthdays snuck up on us, and even while we were actually out celebrating them, it still felt impossible that we could have reached 31 already.
Nevertheless, here I am, officially 31 and still forgetting that I’m 31.
I’ve not usually been one to “check in” on my birthdays (I generally use the new year for that), but this year has just felt different. So, even though I didn’t actually feel like it was my birthday, I’ve actually been doing more reflecting than I usually do about what it means to be another year on in my life, if that makes sense.
This latest family photo courtesy of Britta Brown Photography
Here’s what I think:
My life is both going how I want it to go, and not going how I want it go.
I am both the person I want to be, and not that person.
I am both satisfied with things as they stand, and unsatisfied.
In other words, I’m overall happy and content with my life in general because I largely have most of the things that I’ve always wanted. On the other hand, I realize more and more each day how much personal excavation I still have to do to figure out how to be the best version of myself, which is hard and refining work, and not at all comfortable.
Hence all the contradictions.
So even though I don’t normally do this, here are some things I want to work on in this next year of life:
- I want to judge less and love more. I feel like I used to be a lot more open-hearted and understanding about people who do things outside of the box that I’m used to, but somehow, I feel like being a teacher really made me form judgments more quickly in general. It’s like I got so good at making sure that everyone was following all the rules all the time that that same mentality started to seep into all areas of my life, and though I’m usually good to at least bite my tongue rather than criticize when someone chooses to do things differently than I would, I’d like to replace the judgmental nature of my thoughts period with compassion and love instead.
- I want to avoid the comparison trap. I was wise in making one of my 2017 resolutions to severely cut down on my social media use. Unfortunately, I haven’t always been good at following it. The past several weeks have showed me, once again, that social media for me is often more toxic than inspiring or relationship-building, and I would do much better on focusing on developing my “real-life” relationships rather than just keeping up with my online ones.
- I want to be more intentional about my time. This goes hand-in-hand with wasting too much time on the computer in general, but I want to embrace fully this stage of life I’m in now. I feel like there are a lot of things I could be doing better as a mother, including taking intentional time each day for focused play with Raven (rather than half-heartedly “directing” her play while I get distracted by something else) and making opportunities each day for intentional teaching moments, rather than just waiting for the moments to show up.
- I want to invest more thought into my marriage. It can become so easy, especially now that we’re parents, to just collapse into our separate activities after all parenting duties are done for the day rather than using that time to connect with each other. We’ve also known forever that we’re terrible at going on dates, but I’d like to turn that around so that it’s something we’re at least making a conscious effort to do on a monthly basis.
Change is hard, and it often happens so gradually over time that it’s almost imperceptible, at least until we really stop and measure ourselves against how we used to be. I’m hoping that by intentionally working on these things, I will hopefully be able to say that at 32, I have made some measurable progress.
Here’s to the new year ahead!
Other Birthday Posts:
Linking up with Autumn today!